Windows smashed in Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf bank HQ
- Credit: Extinction Rebellion
Windows were smashed in a demo in Canary Wharf today (April 22) when members from the Extinction Rebellion protest movement converged on the banking district.
A group of women were protesting when the glass at the HSBC headquarters was broken.
They were wearing patches with the words "better broken windows than broken promises".
This was a reference to the Suffragette movement's acts of civil disobedience more than 100 years ago.
Protesters slapped stickers on the windows reading “£80 billion into fossil fuels in the last five years”.
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People sat down next to the windows after glass had been broken with hammers and chisels.
“Investing in fossil fuels is murder,” one of the protesters said. “We won’t stand by while banks invest in runaway greed, while people’s lives are being shattered by the fossil fuel industries.”
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Police were called to the demo soon after 7am to reports of a "group of protestors causing criminal damage” to a building in Canada Square.
Nine women have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and are being held in police custody, Scotland Yard has confirmed.
HSBC has pledged to shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050, but campaigners insist the bank, along with others, is financing coal power and accepting investment linked to the fossil fuel industry.
The women say they don’t believe commitments on being net zero carbon emissions in 30 years will be reached without immediate action by the big banks.
They chose HSBC for today's protest as "Europe’s second-largest financier of fossil fuels" after Barclays, according to the Rainforest Action Network, which claims HSBC has invested £81bn in some of the world’s largest fossil fuel firms since the Paris Agreement in 2016.
Grandmother Susan Reid, 62, a member of Extinction Rebellion, said: “I shouldn’t be having to do this but we owe it to our children and grandchildren to act in whatever way we can.
"I would like to enjoy my retirement with my grandchildren, but instead have to spend it fighting for their future because banks are happy to keep making money from fossil fuels no matter the risk. What we are doing today is an act of care.”
The action followed a similar protest at Barclay’s Canary Wharf HQ two weeks ago as part of a “money rebellion” mass protest over the role the financial services industry is said to have in global climate warming.
At the time, Barclays said Extinction Rebellion is "entitled to their view on capitalism and climate change", but asked that they stop any criminal damage which it said "puts people’s safety at risk".
The banks say they have "made a commitment" to align their financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement, with targets for net-zero banking by 2050.